Isaiah 53:6 – Calvinists claim that this only applies to Israel because that’s who Isaiah was talking to.

Isaiah 53:6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Calvinists don’t like what this verse says because they say that their Jesus only died for the iniquity of those chosen by God to go to heaven, that is, the calvinist Jesus only died for the sins of the elect!

However, the “all” here applies to all people, even though it is written to Israel as God’s covenanted people. If we were to limit all teachings to only the people they were written to, then we would have to consider most of the Bible to be irrelevant for us. The truth is that so much of the Bible is written to a specific group of people, yet must be applied to other people outside that initial group. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable …. That includes Isaiah 53:6!!

Isaiah 53:6 says that all of us have gone astray, and no-one should be able to say that this isn’t true of all people of all time. Or is there a calvinist who would dispute that we have all gone astray like sheep? Maybe there’s a calvinist or two who might say that not all the world has gone astray? Maybe it’s only the elect that goes astray and has need of salvation? Thus, the laying on the Lord here of the iniquity of us all has to include all those who have already been stated as having gone astray, that is, all people! So either all people are sinners and therefore need salvation, or only the elect are sinners and in need of salvation!? Note Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

The problem that calvinists have is that the word “all” is quite inclusive of all things or all people. This is an embarrassment to those who would like the word “all” to mean “some” or “just the Christians” or “those who believe” and so on. One calvinist website tries to even “prove” such, but fails miserably.

But any Bible student will soon discover there are verses which say God wants all men to be saved. For example, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth,” (1 Tim. 2:3-4, NIV). The question, then, is if God predestines only some to salvation, why are there verses that say God wants all to be saved?
The answer is simple: The “all” are the Christians. Now, before you toss this paper aside, please try to be open-minded. I will prove that the “all” in at least three important verses that deal with salvation means the Christians. To do so, I would like to examine 2 Cor. 5:14, 1 Cor. 15:22, and then Rom. 5:18 where the word “all” is used in a way that can only mean the elect. Then I will examine other apparent universal passages.
( Clearly not all calvinists have higher level qualifications!

The only way the verses mentioned could support “all” meaning only the Christians is to firstly assume that they cannot be discussing anything to do with universal atonement (that is, atonement for all sins of all the world without exception). But unless universal atonement is proven wrong, these verses can never teach otherwise. The writer (Matt Slick, who often contributes to the website) strongly implies that if we disagree with him, then we are not being “open-minded”. And even if I am “open-minded”, I still cannot see how these verses “prove” that “all” means the Christians only. (Please note that because of man’s free will, universal atonement can only mean universal salvation if all mankind were to accept salvation through Jesus Christ. Yet, because most of mankind will reject the salvation of the Saviour, then most of mankind will be condemned for eternity. Thus, because of man’s free will, we have universal atonement yet only partial salvation.)

By the way, these people in Isaiah 53:6 are primarily God’s covenanted people, Israel. They are also the same people of whom it says in John 1:11 that He came unto his own, and his own received him not. After Israel rejected their Christ, they were in turn rejected by God and replaced by the Gentile Church until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Romans 11:25)

The calvinist misuse of the word “all” is similar to their misuse of the word “many” – see notes on Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:15  and also 1 John 2:2.

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